Apprentice notches century with Ocean’s Thirteen

The majority of Will Price’s riding career has been under strict COVID-19 restrictions, so the apprentice was understandably taken aback by a raucous noise as he took four-year-old mare Ocean’s Thirteen to the gates at The Valley on Saturday.

The noise – which was actually simple human urgings of encouragement – came from a handful of Ocean Thirteen’s owners, and while such vocal support was once a day-to-day part of horse racing, it has hardly been the norm for much of Price’s career.

“I’d only ridden in front of crowds for three or four months,” the 20-year-old, who began his career just last spring, explained after booting home his 100th career winner.

“To ride a winner at The Valley on a Saturday and to have a few boys here is really super. I got a little cheer on the way to the gates too.”

While crowds won’t return to the Melbourne metropolitan courses until next Wednesday at Sandown, the part-owners of Ocean’s Thirteen ensured their presence would be noted as their mare led throughout in the Vale Jim Marconi Handicap.

Co-trainer Dave Eustace, who prepares the mare in partnership with Ciaron Maher, couldn’t help but notice their presence either.

“I’m so pleased for the owners on-course and for the filly,” he said. “They really deserved that. It was a great win.

“Will got it spot on. She loves rolling along out in front. She’s been up for a while. She trains down at Fingal. Big shout out to Georgia Johnson who has set up the place and has done a super job with her. She’s holding her form really well and she loves fast ground so we’ll keep going with her through the summer.

“She looks great. She was ‘on’ today. She was marching around the paddock. She’s just in a really good groove and hopefully we can get another win.”

The daughter of Ocean Park is a half-sister to Group Three performer Florence Jean and five-win mare Morse Code, both by Pins.

Out of the O’Reilly mare Really Reputable, Ocean’s Thirteen was purchased by Maher for $75,000 from the Waikato Stud draft at the 2018 NZB Book 1 Yearling Sale.

Ocean’s Thirteen has now won five of her 14 starts and A$123,200.

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